Nearly every premiere free agent has signed this off-season, but there are still two that are waiting to be signed. They are Michael Bourne, and Kyle Lohse. Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation looks both, and tries to figure who the best fits for each would be. The article can be read here.
So where might Lohse land? Apparently there's a great deal of reluctance to sign Lohse because he's tied to draft-pick compensation; if you've got one of the top 10 picks in the 2013 amateur draft, you lose your second-round pick if you sign a free agent who was (like Lohse) offered arbitration by his old club. But if you're drafting in slots 11-30, signing Lohse actually costs you that first-round pick. And the higher the pick, the more difficult to justify giving up that pick for Kyle Lohse.
First we'll briefly discuss Kyle Lohse. Lohse is an interesting case, because he's already 34 years old and whoever signs him will have to surrender a draft pick. Whether it's a first or second round pick depends on who lands him. Here at Beyond the Box Score we have been strong advocates of not signing Lohse. Glenn DuPaul predicted that Lohse should have an ERA around 4.09, which would mean that Lohse would be facing some significant regression in 2013.
There are still some teams that could probably use Lohse, but in the end it'd be hard to justify losing an early round draft pick for a 34 year old pitcher who should be facing regression. Rob predicts that Lohse ultimately ends up with the Rangers.
The Mariners, though? Remember, they made a serious bid to acquire Josh Hamilton, and another for Justin Upton. Bourn's not in the same ballpark with those guys, but he is better than anyone the M's actually have, right now. And the Mariners seem to think they've actually got a chance to compete with the big boys this season.
Bourn would also cost a team a draft pick. A lot of Bourn's value comes from his exceptional defensive value, but Dave Cameron looked at how defensive outfielders age fairly poorly. Bourn is a Boras client though, so even though he has skills that decline faster than others he will still be looking to get paid. Teams like the Mariners, and Mets could use an outfielder, but is Bourn really worth the price? I'm not sure.
Question for the community:
1) Would you sign either of these players?